When aren’t women in the media? So much of our lives are made public, with
or without our consent, that women are often subjected to public scrutiny. We
are hyper-sexualized, thin, white advertising tools. In film, we do not speak to one
another unless discussing a man. On television, our bodies are made into public
spectacles and even public property.
We are models, mothers, teachers, obsessed teenage girlfriends, rape victims and
repeatedly damsels in distress.
We are the weaker sex. We are to be protected, revered and, when injured, saved.
But never by our own means.
It’s an interesting picture. The knight in the shining armor sweeps us off our feet.
Our male saviors treat us like pampered house pets while he goes off to fight wars
and protect our fragile virtue while at home.
I don’t know about you, but that sounds capital B boring to me. I’m tired of weak,
pretty cardboard cutouts of women that sit quietly in the background of her own
That’s probably why I like movies like “Brave” and books like “The Hunger
Games” and so deeply admire the female soldiers that serve with my fiancé.
Those women don’t ask permission from their fathers to live their own lives.
They protect themselves, and even other people, because they are complete human
beings and can do that sort of thing.
So when people get really pissed off about, say, the inclusion of female members
of the military in combat positions, I lose my mind.
I couldn’t count how many people who believe in “gender equality” have come
out with some seriously problematic crap about female soldiers, Marines, airmen
and sailors not being able to serve in potentially dangerous situations.
They all try to dress it up in the clothes of what’s in the best interest of the
women. But that’s not what they’re actually interested in, at least in the majority of
They are interested in safe, traditional molds of what it means to be properly
male and female, even when it comes to people brave enough to potentially give
their lives for those of us who choose not to.
I am not someone who glorifies the military. I don’t refer to my fiancé as “my
soldier” or wear his dog tags. But I do admire the selfless nature of many of the
people who enlist. For me, they become somewhat genderless. I associate them with
bravery, sacrifice and strength regardless of their gender.
Not being able to serve in combat positions based exclusively on one’s gender
is completely ridiculous. And it’s also discrimination, which, last time I checked, is
supposed to be illegal.
Many women are perfectly capable of meeting the requirements of a combat
position, both physically and mentally. When people tell you that women simply do
not have the physical stamina to perform the tasks required of someone in a combat
position, that person is, frankly, lying to you and has clearly never seen the scrawny
and/or overweight men who currently serve in infantry positions.
The idea that women won’t be able to handle the mental stresses of war is kind of
laughable. Studies done by the Navy show that it is likely that nearly half of females
serving in the military will be raped during her time of service and that those
women already show higher PTSD rates than those of men who serve in combat.
The real betrayal of women in the military is not putting them deliberately in
the line of fire or allowing them to subject themselves to sometimes unspeakable
violence and the horrors of war. We betray these women when we take away their
right to make their own decisions. As a society, we deny them strength and honor
based on their merit. We subject them to the horrors of rape by one’s comrade but
deny them the opportunity to fight openly in battle.
It’s not that women in the military are not fighting but that they are not fighting
openly. Women who display their strength threaten the established order of
masculine power in our armed forces.
The combined fear of emasculation and female power is what has really kept
women from being allowed in combat positions, not ability or qualification.
If this is truly the country of both free men and free women, then we have equal
rights and responsibilities to protect our freedoms. Men and women who have the
same freedoms fight and even die for those freedoms, not as gendered stereotypes,
but as soldiers.
We have no right to exclude women from combat simply because they are female.
We have the duty to include them because they are willing and able human beings,
pure and simple.